What do I want…?

I think I am so caught up in what I should do, or what others think I should do, or what I think others think I should do, that I forget to consider what I want to do…

The past few days have been rough.  Nora was in a great mood after her tongue and lip tie correction, until that afternoon.  She was extremely fussy.  I gave her Tylenol around the clock, and that helped a lot, but she was still upset and visibly in pain while eating.  Immediately following the procedure I gave Nora a bottle, rather than attempting to nurse her.  The dentist and I decided that since she is more used to a bottle, that would be more comforting to her.  When we go home I attempted to nurse her, but she acted as though she had no idea why I was trying to stuff my nipple into her mouth…  I laid off on trying to force her and instead her and I cuddled most of the afternoon and evening, using bottles for all her feedings in between naps.

Yesterday she was much happier!  So I tried nursing her, and folks, it still hurt like hell!  I know, I know, the dentist and LC told me not to expect great things right away, as Nora has to relearn how to use her muscles and such.  I guess I still expected something to be different though, but it wasn’t.  We did two feedings in a row, but then I was left in pain, with milk stuck in my ducts again, and she was fussy, I assume not satisfied.  So back to bottles we went yesterday afternoon, evening, and overnight.

We have a follow-up appointment this afternoon with the LC.  I guess I’m not sure what to expect of their help…  I assume they will just tell me to keep up with the stretches (to make sure her ties don’t grow back together) and suck training (to help her learn to use her tongue and mouth correctly).  Successfully nursing Nora doesn’t even seem possible to me anymore, I just can’t picture us ever getting there.  I mean, we’ve been struggling for FOUR months now.  It feels like forever.  There is such a huge part of me that wants to give up and accept that I will continue pumping until I have enough breast milk in the freezer to last Nora until she is at least a year old.  I could go back to pumping more often so I can freeze more faster and be completely finished pumping sooner…  Would suck for the time being, but oh, think of the freedom of not pumping!  I can’t even imagine!

But then there is that part of me that thinks I should get her to breastfeed successfully.  Like it’s become some challenge I must overcome, must somehow prove to everyone we can do it.  But do I even want to?  I hate pumping, I do, but I have this down to a science now.  Would it actually be less stressful to just give in and accept this is our reality?  And if I do give in, am I still allowed to complain and bitch and moan that pumping and bottle feeding sucks?  Or must I give that up since this would be my decision?

Ultimately these things are important to me:

  • Nora gets my milk – perhaps how shouldn’t matter
  • Nora learns to use her tongue and mouth correctly – even if we don’t continue breastfeeding, I know correcting her ties will be beneficial to lifelong eating, talking, and so much more

12 thoughts on “What do I want…?

  1. I hate pumping SO MUCH and I only have to do it when I’m at work. I can’t imagine pumping around the clock and still having to feed the baby too – it sounds exhausting. I am hoping that a few more days of stretches and she’ll learn to suck better and you’ll be off to a fabulous nursing relationship. But . . .if that doesn’t happen, you would have every reason in the world to pump until you don’t need to and then burn that thing! (that’s my plan when I’m done, anyway!)

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  2. It took C and I 6 weeks to nurse comfortably, and we didn’t have any anatomic issues. What it boiled down to for me was being able to take care of her when I was alone, and I just couldn’t imagine doing that while pumping. Of course now it seems she’s rejecting frozen milk. Sigh…

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  3. NO matter what decision you make about how you feed your daughter, A) your decision is right, and B) you get to moan and groan and bitch about it. You feed her healthy food; that is key. AND, it is not your or her fault or perfection in how she is fed.
    The same applies to the potty, when she learns to walk, when she starts talking in paragraphs or words, when she learns to read, when she sleeps through the night and how that evolves, etc. EACH CHILD AND EACH PARENT IS DIFFERENT and there is NO PERFECT FITS ALL CHILDREN answers. So, have faith in you! Have faith in her! And know that I have faith in you both.

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  4. We never identified any particular reason why nursing should’ve been as painful for Gwen and me as it was. We gave up on it the day that I realized the idea of nursing caused both of us to start crying. (I never was successful with pumping, sadly, so deciding not to nurse meant formula.) I decided that it was more important for feeding to be a happy bonding time than a time that both of us dreaded just to get the mystical benefits of breastmilk.

    3.5 years later, I still sometimes think “if only I’d tried harder, we could’ve made it work.” But it’s only sometimes. The vast majority of the time, I know we made the right decision. There are many ways to care and love for your child, and forcing them to nurse doesn’t necessarily have to be one of them.

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  5. Just wanted to support your impression that every mother-baby relationship is unique, and I don’t think you should feel any pressure for a particular feeding style: do whatever feels best for you and for Nora and for Eric. I found that the NICU can create serious problems for nursing with the NG tubes and nasal cannulas and wires and nurses/doctors popping into the room…and I’d pretty much given up hope of ever nursing E again when we left there. There were benefits to exclusive pumping: I’m pretty sure that my milk supply increased, I knew exactly how much E was getting, Ryan could bond with her more, and she didn’t sputter/grunt as she’ll sometimes do if we nurse when I’m overfull. We only ended up getting back to the nursing because E kept trying to nurse when we were cuddling. Whatever you end up doing will be the best option for your family!!!

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